The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Fatal theft penalty

Behrampore, Aug. 2: Guava theft led to the death of 14-year-old Sujit Mondal.

The Class VIII student committed suicide by jumping before a speeding train after being severely beaten up by the relatives of district Congress leader Narayan Vajpayee on charges of stealing guavas from their tree.

Sujit’s father Subodh, an employee at a local shop, has blamed Vajpayee for his son’s death in a complaint lodged at the local police station. “Vajpayee’s relatives beat up my son with bamboo sticks till he fell almost senseless to the ground. Vajpayee was present all the while my son was being beaten up,” said Sujit’s father.

“All Sujit had done was pluck a couple of guavas from a tree in his (Vajpayee’s) garden. I cannot believe that a person can be so cruel to a little boy. Unable to bear the consequences, Sujit decided to end his life,” he said. Subodh alleged that the local police station had refused to register a complaint against Vajpayee.

Sujit was missing from the evening after he was beaten up, according to police and his neighbours. His relatives and friends failed to trace him, despite a door-to-door search. Late at night, news reached Behrampore town that a body of a boy was found beside the railway tracks. People from the locality rushed to the spot and identified Sujit.

Vajpayee, a former chairman of the Behrampore municipality, admitted that Sujit was beaten up. “It is correct that two of my relatives beat the boy on charges of stealing guavas from my tree. But they did not use any bamboos or lathis. Why should I take responsibility if the boy commits suicide'” he asked.

The police have registered a case of unnatural death.

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